Recipes are a dime a dozen. Good recipes are like the proverbial needle in a haystack: they’re out there, but they’re not easy to find. Good recipes for bread made mostly with whole wheat? Forget about it. (Believe me, I’ve tried a lot of them.)
I love bread. I have a large number of cookbooks just on the subject of bread. (It is the staff of life, after all.) But this recipe didn’t come from any of those cookbooks. It came from the back of a bag of Gold Medal flour.
This is a great bread to slice and serve with butter or homemade jam alongside a bowl of hearty soup on a cold night. It’s a good bread for toast or sandwiches. And it is fantastic as the base for BLTs. A bonus: this makes two loaves, so you can have bread tonight and for breakfast tomorrow, and know you have another loaf tucked away in the freezer for another day when you’re too pressed for time to bake. Win!
What you need:
- 2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 t.)
- 1/4 c. warm water (105F-115F)
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened or melted
- 1 T. salt
- 2 1/2 c. very warm water (120F-130F)
- 4 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, divided (3 c. + 1 1/2 c.)
- 2 3/4 c. – 3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided
- small and large bowls
- table spoon
- measuring cups and spoons
- electric mixer with dough hook attachment
- flour duster (optional)
- clean kitchen towel
- kitchen thermometer (optional)
- 2 loaf pans (8″x4″ or 9″x5″ are both fine)
- rolling pin
- cooling rack
Time: 2-2 1/2 hours total (15 minutes active + 1-1 1/2 hours rising + 40-45 minutes baking)
Freezeable: Yes: wrap bread well and place in a freezer bag. It will keep for several months.
Serves: 12-16 slices per loaf, depending on thickness.
Multiplying the Recipe: Doubling the recipe would result in an overworked mixer. If you need to make more loaves, mix each batch separately.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread:
Mix the yeast and 1/4 c. warm water in a small bowl with a spoon. It will be very thick and sludgy. Set it aside while you proceed with the next step.
Mix honey, butter, salt, 2 1/2 c. very warm water, and 3 c. whole wheat flour in a large bowl of a stand mixer (using the dough hook). Beat on low speed for 1 minute, and then scrape the bowl. On medium speed, beat the dough for another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl again and beat in the remaining 1 1/2 c. of the whole wheat flour and the contents of the small bowl.
Stir in 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl. Lightly dust a clean surface with all-purpose flour. Dump the dough out onto the floured surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes, adding as much of the remaining 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour as necessary to achieve a smooth and springy dough. Be careful not to add too much, as this will make for a dry bread.
Grease a clean large bowl with cooking spray or shortening. Place the dough in the bowl, and turn it over to coat the dough with the oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes. The dough should be about doubled in size.
Grease two loaf pans with cooking spray or shortening. Deflate the dough by pushing your fist into it. Separate the dough into two equal amounts. Roll each half with a rolling pin so that you have a rectangle about 8″x18″. Start at one of the 8″ ends and roll the dough. Pinch the ends to seal and place in the pans, making sure to put the seam side down. Cover the pans and allow the loaves to rise 30-45 minutes (the dough should double in size).
Heat the oven to 375F. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes. Reset the oven to 350F and bake another 10-15 minutes. The loaves will sound hollow if you tap them. Remove the loaves from the pans and set them on a rack to cool. Don’t slice them until they’re completely cool, about 1 hour.